Nigeria national team

Odion Ighalo to win Africa Cup of Nations Golden Boot

Nigeria kicked off their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Burundi, with experienced attacker Odion Ighalo coming from the bench to put the game to bed.

The experienced attacker does not want to stop now, meaning that the opposition defenders should have him at bay when the Super Eagles take on Guinea in their second group game. Considering that Kelechi Iheanacho failed to make the cut, all eyes will be on the experienced striker in the remainder of the tournament.

Iheanacho-less squad

Even though everybody expected that Kelechi Iheanacho would represent Nigeria at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, the Leicester City attacker was surprisingly cut from the squad earlier this month. The left-footed striker was excluded from the final squad due to the lack of confidence and seeing that his replacement Ebere Onuachu failed to impress in the Group B opener against Burundi, there is every chance Odion Ighalo will lead the line for the Super Eagles against Guinea.

Form of his life

Odion Ighalo seems to be on top of his game at the moment. After scoring 21 goals in 28 appearances for Changchun Yatai in the Chinese Super League last term, the 30-year-old attacker has already found his goal-scoring touch with Shanghai Shenhua in the 2019 season. The former Watford man was scoring goals for fun in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers as well, netting seven goals in the process. Ighalo hit the back of the net against Burundi barely four minutes after coming from the bench, with the experienced forward scoring his first ever goal at the Africa Cup of Nations finals. Given the fact that Odion Ighalo is in the form of his life, it is no surprise he is considered No. 2 favourite to win the Top Scorer of the tournament award.

Now or Never

Turning 30 earlier in June, the Shanghai Shenhua striker is undisputedly in the twilight of his career. Seeing that this could be his last appearance at major tournaments, Odion Ighalo is likely to leave his heart on the field in every single match at the tournament in Egypt as he wants to win his first ever AFCON trophy. Ighalo played for Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals, but he failed to find the net for the Super Eagles, who suffered early exit at the last summer’s showpiece tournament in Russia. The right-footed attacker and his teammates are eager to make amends for the unsuccessful campaign, which is yet another reason why we believe he is going to shine at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Nigeria national team

Nigeria national team (Photo: thenff.com)

Nigeria rivals struggle at the back

Nigeria have already crossed their first hurdle at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, with the team beating Burundi at Alexandria Stadium. Seeing that Gernot Rohr’s men will face the likes of Guinea and Madagascar in Group B as well, Odion Ighalo is likely to add more goals to his account before the knockout stages. Guinea experienced all sorts of problems at the back in a 2-2 draw with Madagascar, who made their debut at the Africa Cup of Nations at the weekend. The Barea conceded 14 goals in total in previous six games in all competitions, meaning that their back-line could have their work cut out for them when facing the Nigerian attackers in their last group match.

Ighalo’s record

Odion Ighalo has 27 caps for the Nigeria national team, with the experienced attacker scoring his 11th goal for the Nigeria national team in the 1-0 win over Burundi. Ighalo scored two goals in international friendlies, seven goals in the Africa Cup of Nations, while finding the back of the net only once in the World Cup qualifiers. The former Premier League striker is sitting in 12th position in the Nigeria all-time top goal scorers list.

Top Scorer betting odds

Despite the fact that Mohamed Salah failed to find the net in a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe, the Liverpool superstar is still considered No. 1 favourite to win the Africa Cup of Nations Golden Boot. Mo Salah is 7/1 at William Hill to win the prestigious award, but we are tempted to put our money on Odion Ighalo, who is leading the goal-scoring chart. Bookies offer odds of 8/1 on the Nigeria centre-forward to clinch the Top Scorer Award at the tournament in Egypt, whilst Sadio Mane, who missed the opener against Tanzania through suspension, is 10/1 at bet365 to win the Golden Boot.

Check out the other AFCON betting odds at William Hill.